A Look Back at Aretha Franklin’s Quintessential Style, 1960s – 2010s

Aretha Franklin at rehearsal in Madison Square Garden ,June 1968. Image: Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

With a burgeoning career in the 1960s, some of us may have missed the fashionista that is Aretha Franklin. Signing a record deal in New York at age 18, the Queen of Soul’s sense of style is a decades long jollification of vibrant colors, glamorous choices and trademark furs. Here, we go back to revere the robust and audacious wardrobe of the songstress who is one of the defining voices of Black Americana.

How a queen enters the scene: Elaborately embellished or draped like mythical deity—Aretha stayed styled like royalty.

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Image:Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images

Reflecting the soul and movement of the time, Ms. Franklin came through with maxi dresses, crochet garments, cornrows, and Afros at center stage.

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Aretha with her father and sister. Image: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

The Queen of Soul loved a fur and owned several. Furriers in her hometown of Detroit found their most loyal customer to be, rather down-to-earth and unlike a diva. Remember when PETA asked Aretha’s estate to donate her fur coats to them? She didn’t have to resurrect to handle them; Black Twitter did that for her.

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Aretha projected as much joy in the the art of dressing as she did in her signature coat drop on stage. And if someone dared suggest a look didn’t suit her, she would prove them wrong by wearing it well, again and again.

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Aretha’s elevated eye was unwavering. She knew exactly what looked good on her body—either it had to be sharp as a tack or drape her like a goddess.

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#QueenBusiness: Spirited and mature, Franklin never stopped singing nor serving bold, stunning style.

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